What started as a dispute over about $300 in unpaid wages, has cost Southern California lawyer Thomas Beck five years of grief and, by his estimate, about $100,000.

In a decision issued last month and published Wednesday, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld a $57,420 appellate fee award against Beck. The court, weighing in on Beck’s case for the second time, sided with his former employee’s lawyer, finding that the employee was entitled to appellate attorneys fees.

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